Saturday, May 21, 2011

The end is near (again). No, for real this time....


YAHOO News is reporting...
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – With no sign of Judgment Day arriving as he had forecast, the 89-year-old California evangelical broadcaster and former civil engineer behind the pronouncement seemed to have gone silent on Saturday.
Family Radio, the Christian stations network headed by Harold Camping which had spread his message of an approaching doomsday, was playing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse.

Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.

Al Mohler has a good read if you are wondering if the end of the world as we know it will happen today.  In a post entitled, "The End is Near?  The False Teaching of Harold Camping", Mohler writes,
Harold Camping is now warning the world that the Day of Judgment will begin at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011. The 89-year-old founder of Family Radio has made such pronouncements before, most recently in 1994. He now says that he simply miscalculated then, but he is absolutely certain that he has the right calculation now. You have been warned.
Despite the long tradition of people who claimed special secret knowledge about the return of Christ, and despite the fact the Camping has got it wrong before in 1994 (yes, this isn't the first time; yet he's been given a pass and scores of people still follow him and give him money--his ministry is worth $72M), Camping remains undaunted.

But Mohler has the right perspective....
First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
To state the case plainly, these two verses explicitly forbid Christians to claim the knowledge of such dates and times. Jesus clearly taught that the Father has not revealed such dates and timing, but has reserved that knowledge for himself. It is an act of incredible presumptuousness to claim that a human knows such a date, or has determined God’s timing by any means.
Second, the Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible’s message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God.
Third, Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.
In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming. The church is not to be arrogantly setting dates, but instead to be eagerly waiting for him. Of that we can be truly certain.
Read the full article here.

For years, Camping has convinced untold numbers that the visible church is evil, so they should follow him.  And with all of this hullabaloo, scores more will be convinced that Christianity has nothing to offer because of con-artists like Camping.

So after today, can we please make Camping's name synonymous with "heretic"?

Like at 6:01pm to be precise?


Ben Z. said...

I agree with your categorization of Camping. But, in the words of Andrée Seu, "at least Camping’s flash in the pan gets the subject of the Second Coming on the table. Which is right where it should be about now." I think that even the multiple layers of fallacy underlying Camping's predictions can be used for good. Since people are at least thinking about the end of the world more than usual, isn't it likely that some unbelievers are wondering what's going to happen to them if and when the world ends? And that sounds a whole lot like an evangelism opportunity to me (of course, having to distance true Christianity from Camping's "theology" in the process).

John said...

Well said, Ben. I think you are right.

I am concerned for many who follow Camping, although they have left the visible church long ago. I know of at least one church that is trying to have an outreach to his followers b/c they are concerned about suicidal tendencies in light of the major disappointment that they are now experiencing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Ben Z. said...

My pleasure. I enjoy reading your blog.

That (the suicidal tendencies) is no good. I did not know about that, although unfortunately I can't say that it takes me completely by surprise.

In any event, Come Lord Jesus.